The Instigator
SoumyaMitra
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
m93samman
Con (against)
Winning
17 Points

Mind controls the brain, instead of being controlled by it

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/16/2010 Category: Science
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,241 times Debate No: 13392
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (4)

 

SoumyaMitra

Pro

Research in the field of cognitive neurology has shown that there are causal correlations between the neural activity of the brain and conscious experience of the mind. But which is the cause and which is the effect is not known as yet. I will try to show that mind is responsible for neural activities that we can study inside the brain. While my opponent has to proove that it is the other way round - i.e. neural activities control conscious experience.
m93samman

Con

I accept this debate, and look forward to an interesting one.

==DEFINITIONS==

Mind: that which is responsible for one's thoughts and feelings; the seat of the faculty of reason [1]

Brain: that part of the central nervous system that includes all the higher nervous centers [2]

Control: power to direct or determine [3]

==OBSERVATIONS==

1) My opponent has the BOP (Burden Of Proof) in this round, as the instigator, for the pro advocacy, while I have the BOP for the con advocacy. Obviously...

2) As the first round has now passed, no new definitions can be added regarding the resolutions.

==ARGUMENTS==

I present one argument for the round, that being:

The mind is part of the brain

According to Dr. Paulus who was quoted in the NY Times, "mind and body are integrated in the insula. It provides unprecedented insight into the anatomy of human emotions." [4] The insula merely refers to the insular cortex, a region in the brain shown here [5]. I contend that, as a part, the mind cannot control the brain. Just as my arm or my brain cannot control me (alone), neither can a part of the brain control the whole thing. It seems wrong prima facie to say that my brain does not control me, but alas, without my beating heart and my interconnected circular and neuro-muscular systems, my brain would not work.

Thank you, vote con.

==SOURCES==

[1] http://www.google.com...

[2] http://www.google.com...

[3] http://www.google.com...

[4] http://www.nytimes.com...

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
SoumyaMitra

Pro

My opponent has contended that mind is a part of the brain and therefore it can't control the brain as parts cannot control the whole. However, my opponent has not presented any supportive evidence in support of his claim that mind is the part of the brain. He has only quoted a part of a sentence published in NY Times by Dr. Paulus which states "mind and body are integrated in the insula", which I don't think should be considered as evidence of his claim. So in absence of any supportive evidence presented by my opponent, I am free to disagree with his idea that mind is a part of the brain.

In the end my opponent has stated "without my beating heart and my interconnected circular and neuro-muscular systems, my brain would not work". I don't disagree to that because it is a science fact the brain and the body cannot function disjunctively. But that tells nothing about the mind and therefore is irrelevant in the context of the debate, unless my opponent comes up with evidence that mind is either a part of the body or a part of the brain.
m93samman

Con

I thank my opponent for his quick response.

In brief, my opponent disregarded the observations; extend my first observation regarding the burden of proof. As of now, Pro has no ground in this debate, and has failed to do what he promised in the first round- "try to show that mind is responsible for neural activities that we can study inside the brain."

==DEFENSE OF CON CASE==

Though I only "quoted a part of a sentence", there is no reason to deny any of my argument. Here is a brief biography of Dr. Martin P. Paulus [1]. He is highly knowledgeable in the subject being debated, and there is no reason to reject him simply because I inadequately quoted him. Aside from that, it is generally scientifically accepted that the brain is split into many parts, the "conscious experience" being function controlled by a certain part. My opponent has not refuted the claim that a part cannot control the whole. He agrees with my analogy regarding the whole of my body, so there is no reason to deny to identical situations; part:whole::part:whole. Mind:Brain::Brain:Body. As of now, my case has not been directly refuted, and Pro has provided no case.

Vote Con.

==SOURCES==

[1] http://psychiatry.ucsd.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
SoumyaMitra

Pro

Firstly, let me discuss certain facts about the neural correlates of consciousness. The neural correlates of consciousness (NCC) constitute the minimal set of neuronal events and mechanisms sufficient for a specific conscious percept. A science of consciousness must explain the exact relationship between subjective mental states and brain states, the nature of the relationship between the conscious mind and the electro-chemical interactions in the body. But so far neuroscientists have focused only on body and not mind. Till date neuroscience has not been able to precisely describe mental activity in terms of the neural activity. So my opponent's claim that conscious experience is a function controlled by a certain part of the brain, will remain futile, unless he is able to describe exactly which part is independently responsible for conscious experience and how.
In fact no physical science does accurately describe the functioning of mind. Attempts have been made to describe the "non-algorithmic" way in which mind works in terms of quantum physics. One such attempt is the Orchestrated Objective Reduction theory formulated by theoretical physicist Roger Penrose and anaesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff. But when there are enough unsolved issues in the quantum theory itself, I don't think it is a proper basis to describe mind. In my opinion mind is an independent entity and cannot be described as the effect of any physical phenomena. Rather, there are physical phenomena which we can try to describe taking mind as the cause. The following example supports my claim:
There is a very common experiment, explaining wave-particle duality of electrons, in which electrons are fired through two holes and their arrival on the other side is recorded on a screen. The special feature of this screen is that each electron makes a spot of light on the screen, and the spot stays there as other electrons arrive, each making its own spot, so that gradually they build up a pattern on the screen. But as thousands of electrons are fired through the experiment one at a time, the pattern that builds up on the screen is the classic interference pattern associated with waves. Not only are the electrons leaving and arriving as particles, but somehow travelling as waves, but they seem to "know" the past and the future as well. If thousands of electrons travelled together through the experiment, it might be easy to understand that they could jostle one another into an interference pattern. But only one electron passes through the experiment at a time, and somehow chooses its place on the screen on the other side so that the pattern that gradually builds up is the classic interference pattern. How can each electron possibly "know" its rightful place in the pattern? If one of the two holes is blocked off, the electrons form one blob of spots on the screen behind the remaining hole. With the other hole open and the first one closed, you get a blob on the screen behind that hole. But with both holes open, the interference pattern emerges, with the brightest part of the pattern on the line midway between the holes. An individual electron, passing through just one hole in the experiment, seems to be AWARE whether or not the second hole is covered up, and to adjust its trajectory accordingly. Is there a mind behind it? I think it could be. With no other satisfactory explanation, I bet, mind is the best candidate here.
There are higher states of consciousness than ordinary waking state. Sean O' Nuallain in his book "Zero-Power and Selflessness", in which he has done studies on the meditating mind, has stated that meditators often describe selfless states & higher states of consciousness than ordinary waking state. What the mind can do when it reaches it highest points of consciousness is not known and needs to be studied further before coming to the conclusion that it is limited and can't do anything without a body.
The BOP now lies upon con.
m93samman

Con

I thank my opponent for the debate, but he is extremely deficient in fulfilling his duty as the instigator and as pro. At the start of the round, he said that he will attempt to prove that the mind does in fact control the brain, and gave me the burden to prove the contrary. As I have been attempting to fulfill my part, he has yet to provide a pro case. All he has done is provide his opinion, some speculation from scientists proving that NO research has been done that is sufficient enough to prove either, and then said that I have the burden of proof in a debate in which he agreed that he does have an equal BOP.

Let's address the round, now.

==BURDEN OF PROOF==

My opponent, like I already mentioned, has yet to provide a pro case. At best, pro can hope for a tie; practically, I at least have some ground off of which the readers can vote.

==PSEUDO-PRO CASE==

Here are a few quotes from my opponent's case that he hopes will win him the round.

"What the mind can do when it reaches it highest points of consciousness is not known and needs to be studied further before coming to [a] conclusion"

"...no physical science does accurately describe the functioning of mind"

"Till date neuroscience has not been able to precisely describe mental activity in terms of the neural activity"

"So my opponent's claim ...will remain futile, unless he is able to describe exactly which part is independently responsible for conscious experience and how."

"In my opinion mind is an independent entity and cannot be described as the effect of any physical phenomena."

Basically, he debunks my attempt at creating a con world by proving that no science has ever found the subject possible to even STUDY, then says that I, a freshman in college, needs to surpass all of the neuroscientific research that has been done in the past century. Then, he proceeds to provide his OPINION on the subject and hopes that it will pass off as a valid claim. This will not win him the round in any way.

==DEFENSE OF CON CASE==

Aside from the scientific speculation he has continued to hurl at me, he has yet to attack my very simple analogy that parts cannot control the whole. The mind, he has conceded, is a part of the brain, and I have provided sufficient warrants for parts being incapable of complete control over the whole. As he has yet to refute this, you can still safely vote con without having any problems.

==SUMMARY==

My opponent has not made one single argument upholding his case; I have at least made an attempt to. He can't win the 3 points of "most convincing argument(s)" without having argued. He has provided no verifiable sources in the round, and, as for conduct, he has thrown me into a corner in which I have to fight my way out of a burden of proof that he never mentioned until I did. His debating style is not only unfair, it is illogical. Yet to argue aside from criticizing modern science of its insufficiency, pro cannot even hope to win any votes in this debate. I thank the readers for their time, but apologize for the lack of legitimate debate.

VOTE CON
Debate Round No. 3
SoumyaMitra

Pro

I think, either my friend (con) is misunderstanding my arguments or trying to misinterpret them in order to mislead the readers. The basic argument of my friend has been that Mind is a part of brain and being a part it can't control the whole. But I had rejected the contention of my friend that Mind is a part of the Brain in the beginning itself. I don't know how he has misconstrued that I have conceded his claim that Mind is a part of the Brain.

In this round I will try to clear all the miss-interpretations about the pro case. As I have already mentioned in my earlier argument that research in the field of "Cognitive Neurology" suggests that there are "causal correlations" between the mind and the brain. For that to be true one of the following propositions has to be true: -

A)Mind controls the brain and its neural activity
B)The brain controls the Mind and conscious experience

Since the above propositions are mutually exclusive only one of the propositions can be true. In other words for "causal correlations" to exist between the mind and the brain either ‘A' or ‘B' have to be true. If one of them is proved false the other becomes true automatically. So far, my friend (con), even after having sufficient opportunity, has failed to either disprove ‘A' or prove ‘B'.

Now, it's my turn, and in this round I will try to disprove the proposition ‘B' and by doing so my original proposition which is ‘A' will be automatically proved true, for "causal correlations" between the mind and the brain to exist. To disprove ‘B', that is brain controls mind and conscious experience, I will now provide evidence that Mind can do without the brain.

To support my claim I will refer to a study done by Dr. Pim van Lommel, a cardiologist from Netherlands, who studied a group of patients who had suffered cardiac arrests and who were successfully revived. He found that 62 patients (18%) had a Near-Death Experience (NDE), of whom 41 (12%) described a core experience. Many of the subjects had "NO NEURAL ACTIVITY" in the brain as understood from a flat-EEG. Among other symptoms they had fixed and dilated pupil sufficient to describe the subject "brain-dead" or "clinically dead".

Such "experiences" encountered by people declared "clinically dead" or "brain dead" suggest that the mind can survive "brain-death".

Given bellow is a link to Articles by Dr. van Lommel, which describe the study and conclusions in detail:
http://www.towardthelight.org...

The simple conclusion that I can arrive at from the above study is that if the mind and conscious experience can survive "brain-death" it directly implies that mind does not need the brain at least for consciousness experience. The logical corollary that follows is that mind can exist without the brain and is therefore is not a part of the brain, as contended by my friend. Thus having disproved the proposition ‘B' – brain controls mind and conscious experience, I strongly contend that proposition ‘A' has to be true for "causal correlation" between mind and brain to exist.

To simplify my friend's task I want clarify what he has to do to defend his case. Either he has to disprove the evidence that I have provided about the survival of mind after "brain-death" or he has to disprove that there are "causal correlations" between mind and brain, which again will be against his basic argument that the mind is a part of the brain.
m93samman

Con

My opponent has finally provided an argument for his case; rather late in the round, if I may say so myself.

==DEFENSE OF CON CASE==

To my opponent's dismay, he really has not refuted my case of part to whole. He may be confused because he is copy-pasting his arguments from his other two debates. Unfortunately, he may lose track, which is what seems to have happened in this case. Notice the studies and arguments he makes in these debates, and compare them to this one.
http://www.debate.org...
http://www.debate.org...

Anyways, he still has yet to validly refute my claim that a part can not independently control the whole; I would contend that this proves his statement (A) false, rendering, by his standard, statement (B) true.

==REFUTATION OF PRO CASE==

He consistently makes the observation that there are "causal correlations" between brain and mind; it would seem obvious, since the mind is integrated in the brain. But then, he provides a study by Dr. Pim van Lommel to prove that, in the case of a cardiac arrest, x number of patients had an NDE and y number had a core experience. The study also suggested that they were literally 'brain dead', and that, therefore, the mind can survive brain death. Consider the following responses:

1) The study he provides in argument doesn't explicitly say that mind controls the brain.
2) If the study was truly conclusive, 100% of patients would have experienced NDE's or CE's, as opposed to a percentage that represents less that half of the group.
3) Although there was no neural activity in the study, there was no indication to show that there was any activity in the mind.

There is no reason to vote pro, the resolution is:

NEGATED
Debate Round No. 4
SoumyaMitra

Pro

At the outset I want to clarify a few things. I am participating in two more debates in this website. The topics of those debates are as under: -
1.Mind has a Material Basis
2.Mind was the last thing to come into existence
I have taken the con stand in both the above debates. Since the subject matter of all three debates relates to the nature of "Mind" and since one of my basic contentions in all three debates is that Mind does not have a material basis or mind is not a part of the brain, arguments put forth by me in support of my contention are similar.

Next I want to clarify my stand regarding my friend's argument about part and whole. I agree that I haven't refuted the argument that parts can't control the whole, but I reiterate that the argument is rendered futile in the context of this debate, as my friend has not been able to present any proof that mind is a part of the brain.

Next I will comment on my friend's views on the study of NDE at seriatim:
1.The study doesn't explicitly say that Mind controls the brain. But it does imply that Mind can survive without the brain and therefore brain doesn't control the mind. For "causal correlations" between mind and the brain to exist it follows as a logical corollary that mind controls the brain. It is pertinent to mention here that I have provided evidence that mind can actively exist without the brain. In the same lines I request my friend (con) to provide at least one instance where a brain can actively exist without a mind.

2.The question why only 18% of the subjects remembered the NDE can be answered by referring to our experiences in a dream state. How often do we remember dreams? When we do we hardly remember every single detail of our dream. In most cases we don't remember anything at all. So it is possible that the remaining subjects also had an NDE, but were not able to recall it.

3.The mind was "active" while there was no neural activity. That is what I wanted to show, when I referred to the study. Since mental activity persists after "brain death" the brain evidently does not control the mind.

Till, now my friend (con) has not been able to either disprove the proposition ‘A' or provide a single proof to support the proposition ‘B'. Therefore, for "causal correlation" to exist between the mind and the brain the proposition ‘A' that is mind controls the brain has to be true. I believe any rational and sensible reader will be convinced with that argument.

Further, to support my claim that mind can controls the brain I would like to refer to "Research on Meditation", which suggests that the meditating mind is able to regulate frequency of brain waves. Please lookup the following link in this regard:-

http://en.wikipedia.org...

I regard this as direct evidence of the fact that the mind controls the brain.

I hope in the last round my friend will come up with some EVIDENCE to support AT LEAST ONE of the following propositions, failing which he won't be able to convince any RATIONAL mind:
1.The brain controls the mind; OR
2.The brain activity can exist without a mind; OR
3.The mind is the part of the brain (which was his original proposition)
Although, even if he is able to do that I would be deprived from cross-examining such evidence since this is the last round.

Since this is the last round and I have already unfolded all my views on the subject, I will now request readers to please vote for pro, if they find my arguments rational enough to convince them. I would also thank my friend for participating in the debate and I wish him best of luck for the voting period.
m93samman

Con

I refuse to debate someone who has yet to refute my claim. Here is a copy-paste from my argument about the part-whole anatomy of the mind and brain.

[QUOTE]

According to Dr. Paulus who was quoted in the NY Times, "mind and body are integrated in the insula. It provides unprecedented insight into the anatomy of human emotions." [4] The insula merely refers to the insular cortex, a region in the brain shown here [5]. I contend that, as a part, the mind cannot control the brain. Just as my arm or my brain cannot control me (alone), neither can a part of the brain control the whole thing. It seems wrong prima facie to say that my brain does not control me, but alas, without my beating heart and my interconnected circular and neuro-muscular systems, my brain would not work.

[END QUOTE]

I refuse to debate somebody who is so blatantly refusing to argue with me and simply throwing studies at three different debates that are different topics. See the comments section of Soumya's debate with LarztheLoser; he also complains about how his arguments are not responded to. This is a trend- my opponent throws random studies in random orders on 3 random debates, and expects them to be the only material in the round ALL WHILE claiming that his opponent has the burden of proof. My opponent has yet to debate, so

VOTE CON
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
What "control" means is that a part of something is controlling the rest. The software in a computer controls the computer as a whole.

Con's "I refuse to debate someone ..." loses the conduct category.

You guys should read some Steven Pinker on the problem of subjective consciousness. Understanding of the science involved is weak in the debate.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
Cody_Franklin
Define "mind".
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by S98-SAMMAN 6 years ago
S98-SAMMAN
SoumyaMitram93sammanTied
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Vote Placed by Vania.Ruiz 6 years ago
Vania.Ruiz
SoumyaMitram93sammanTied
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by m93samman 7 years ago
m93samman
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